If you don’t know how to talk to children about abstraction, read this article
Abstractionism is probably the only style of fine art that is rarely brought to children’s attention. And for good reason! It is closest to preschool children. Because – conditionally – it has something in common with children’s drawings. Therefore, children will always find something familiar and understandable in non-figurative. So why not watch abstract works by artists with your child? Do it on good examples – in museums or galleries.
WHAT IS ABSTRACTIONISM?
Abstractionism is a subjectless art and style movement that emerged in the early 20th century. Abstractionism involves the abandonment of depicting objects in favor of the use of geometric shapes, colors, stains, and lines. The founder of the movement was the Russian artist Vasily Kandinsky.
Does it mean that abstractionist painters are completely unable to draw? Of course not! Usually they have a serious school of academic drawing behind them, many works with “usual” painting – portraits, landscapes, etc. But at some point in his work, the artist abandons the subject of painting and immerses himself in the study of color, composition, emotion. The abstractionist painter is the true explorer.
THE REALM OF ADJECTIVES
How do you watch abstraction with a child? What questions to ask him or her? How do you answer those questions? Here’s a sample conversation plan – a handy checklist when introducing a new painting:
- Let’s guess what’s painted here? What do you see?
- What colors do you see in the painting? List.
- What is the mood of this painting? Why do you think so?
- Read the title of the picture to the child. If all the words are clear to him, ask – does he see it in the picture? Or, “I wonder why the artist named the picture that way? What do you think?”
- Do you like this painting? Why do you like it?
- Let’s practice on a particular painting,
- Let the child try to answer all of these questions by looking at this particular painting.
Try to choose more adjectives to describe this or that quality: blue, sunny, bright, joyful, spring, kind, etc. First, this works to increase the child’s vocabulary. Secondly, we learn to discuss works of art in extended phrases, not “like/dislike”. Third, you’ll see for yourself how interesting it is to look at an abstract work to find the right adjectives for it.
The good thing about abstraction is that there are no wrong answers.
THIS INNER FREEDOM IS VERY IMPORTANT. CHILDREN TODAY (“THANKS” TO SCHOOL) ARE FIXATED ON THE ONLY RIGHT ANSWERS, AND THEY ARE AFRAID OF MAKING A MISTAKE. ABSTRACTION WILL SHOW THEM THAT YOU CANNOT DIVIDE THE WORLD ONLY INTO BLACK AND WHITE. THERE ARE A LOT OF FORMS, VARIANTS AND OPINIONS. AND WHEN DISCUSSING A PICTURE, YOU CAN RELAX AND NOT BE AFRAID TO SAY “WRONG”.
Everything that “seems”, “thinks”, “sees” is right! A painting will have the meaning and the mood that you or your child put into it. Everyone is equal in front of abstraction – the art critic, your child and you.